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Let the Great World Spin

by

Let the Great World Spin Cover

 

Staff Pick

McCann chooses to describe one day in the life of New York City, the day in 1974 that the aerialist walked between the not-quite-finished Twin Towers. The chasm between rich and poor, the joy of connection, and the inevitability of our mortality are told through the lives of six different New Yorkers, including that incredible man dancing on that thin wire who epitomizes joy and triumph, if only for a short and precarious time. If you love New York, you’ve got to read this book. If you love the human journey towards the possible, you’ve got to read this book.
Recommended by Miriam, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann's stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author's most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s.

Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth.

Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann's powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city's people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the artistic crime of the century. A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence. Hailed as "a fiercely original talent" (San Francisco Chronicle), award-winning novelist McCann has delivered a triumphantly American masterpiece that awakens in us a sense of what the novel can achieve, confront, and even heal.

Review:

"[S]himmering, shattering....In McCann's wise and elegiac novel of origins and consequences, each of his finely drawn, unexpectedly connected characters balances above an abyss, evincing great courage with every step." Booklist (starred review)

Review:

"Unfocused and overlong, though written with verve, empathy and stylistic mastery." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"McCann has written more than a supremely woven tapestry of imagined lives; through their struggles, he clears a path for healing and redemption from the cataclysm of a later time." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Review:

"McCann gives a superb account of the walker's long practicing....And if some of his other attempts to elevate work into myth are strained, he succeeds with his image of a flight that lifts the heaviness of a whole city." The Boston Globe

Review:

"One of the most electric, profound novels I have read in years.... It is a mark of the novel's soaring and largely fulfilled ambition that McCann just keeps rolling out new people, deftly linking each to the next, as his story moves toward its surprising and deeply affecting conclusion." Jonathan Mahler, The New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

McCann's most ambitious work to date offers a dazzling and hauntingly rich vision of the loveliness, pain, and mystery of life in New York City in the 1970s.

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About the Author

Colum McCann is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Zoli, Dancer, This Side of Brightness, and Songdogs, as well as two critically acclaimed story collections. His fiction has been published in thirty languages. He has been a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was the inaugural winner of the Ireland Fund of Monaco Literary Award in Memory of Princess Grace. He has been named one of Esquire's "Best and Brightest," and his short film Everything in This Country Must was nominated for an Oscar in 2005. A contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Paris Review, he teaches in the Hunter College MFA Creative Writing Program. He lives in New York City with his wife and their three children.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

smaasch, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by smaasch)
very well-written story of 12 people who live in new york city in the 70's. he interweaves their lives. you care about these characters. it is an amazing book.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
JaneH, March 31, 2010 (view all comments by JaneH)
Beautifully written and intricately woven, this book definitely tops my list for 2009.
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(4 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
Sandikal, August 3, 2009 (view all comments by Sandikal)
In my opinion, "Let the Great World Spin" is a contender for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. It is beautifully written and makes the New York City of the Seventies really come alive.
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(6 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400063734
Author:
McCann, Colum
Publisher:
Random House (NY)
Subject:
Immigrants
Subject:
Grief
Subject:
General
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
New york (n.y.)
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;new york;new york city;1970s;national book award;historical fiction;novel;irish;world trade center;grief;prostitutes;ireland;prostitution;tightrope;philippe petit;contemporary fiction;literature;american;twin towers;usa;tightrope walking;literary
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.44x6.38x1.33 in. 1.28 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » National Book Award Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Let the Great World Spin Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.50 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Random House - English 9781400063734 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

McCann chooses to describe one day in the life of New York City, the day in 1974 that the aerialist walked between the not-quite-finished Twin Towers. The chasm between rich and poor, the joy of connection, and the inevitability of our mortality are told through the lives of six different New Yorkers, including that incredible man dancing on that thin wire who epitomizes joy and triumph, if only for a short and precarious time. If you love New York, you’ve got to read this book. If you love the human journey towards the possible, you’ve got to read this book.

"Review" by , "[S]himmering, shattering....In McCann's wise and elegiac novel of origins and consequences, each of his finely drawn, unexpectedly connected characters balances above an abyss, evincing great courage with every step."
"Review" by , "Unfocused and overlong, though written with verve, empathy and stylistic mastery."
"Review" by , "McCann has written more than a supremely woven tapestry of imagined lives; through their struggles, he clears a path for healing and redemption from the cataclysm of a later time."
"Review" by , "McCann gives a superb account of the walker's long practicing....And if some of his other attempts to elevate work into myth are strained, he succeeds with his image of a flight that lifts the heaviness of a whole city."
"Review" by , "One of the most electric, profound novels I have read in years.... It is a mark of the novel's soaring and largely fulfilled ambition that McCann just keeps rolling out new people, deftly linking each to the next, as his story moves toward its surprising and deeply affecting conclusion."
"Synopsis" by , McCann's most ambitious work to date offers a dazzling and hauntingly rich vision of the loveliness, pain, and mystery of life in New York City in the 1970s.
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